Paris Bordon (1500-1571) divine painter, exhibited in the Museum of Santa Caterina in Treviso. – Carlo Franza’s blog

The city of Treviso dedicates to its greatest painter, Paris Bourdon (Treviso 1500 – Venice 1571), designated by the Venetian historian Marco Boschini, the “Divin Pitor” – a term he used only for Raphael and Titian – the largest monograph ever made of outstanding works, many of which never exhibited in Italy.

The exhibition is on display at the Santa Caterina Museum from September 16, 2022 to January 15, 2023 and is curated by Simone FacchinettiAssociate Professor at the University of Salento, e Arturo Galacino, director of the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation in Florence, promoted by the City of Treviso, the Civic Museums of Treviso and the Veneto Region. Production and organization are entrusted to Marsilio Arte, which publishes the catalogue. Principal Partner Intesa Sanpaolo. With the contribution of the Treviso-Belluno Chamber of Commerce, Dolomites, in collaboration with the SAVE Group, Aer Tre and with the Prosecco DOC Protection Consortium. Radio Monte Carlo is the official radio station.

The exhibition tells the story of the creativity and exceptional quality of the work of Titian’s pupil, bringing together his masterpieces from the most famous museums in the world, including National Gallery of London, on Louvre of Paris, on Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna,Ashmolean Museum of Oxford, le Uffizi Gallery of Florence and Vatican Museums.

It is Giorgio Vasari who considers Paris Bourdon the only worthy pupil of Titian Cautionso much so that he devoted a long appendix to his biography of Vecellio in his 1568 edition Lives. There are no works and documents able to shed light on the dates of his apprenticeship, but we certainly know that on June 21, 1518 Paris is mentioned as “virtual habitat in Venetiis in contrata Sancti Iuliani”. The young painter soon showed a certain emancipation from the master, turning his interest to the new trends introduced by Palma il Vecchio and Pordenone.

The exhibition aims to rediscover the variety, originality and richness of the output of Treviso’s genius, bringing together his sensuous female portraits, mythological representations, sacred scenes of large altars and small works intended for private devotion..

Thanks to the testimony of Giorgio Vasari we know that Paris Bourdon was also a sought-after portraitist. The oldest dated painting of its kind, which will arrive at Santa Caterina from the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, dates from 1523, still influenced by the legacy of Giorgione, a model he was inspired to as soon as he left the workshop of Tiziano. If the portrait of Monaco is still paged according to a Giorgione scheme, with the following we see a development in a more modern sense. Through the history of portraits it is indeed possible to follow the path – historical, geographical and stylistic – that Paris made. The stylistic journey led him from the first “natural” portraits, still inspired by Palma Il Vecchio and Titian, to those characterized by a refined manner, born in an international climate. In 1538 Paris arrived in France, at Fointainebleau, at the court of Francis I. In 1540 he depicted a character originally from Augusta in the same decade

documented in Milan, Spain. Many painted characters stretch this circuit: collectors or ordinary customers. There is no lack of portraits in many Parisian paintings intended for private devotion.
There are many love affairs, executed in the wake of the successful models of Titian and Palma il Vecchio. They are room paintings, intended for closed environments, intended for sophisticated clients. In most cases, these are portraits of women, represented in the guise of mythological subjects, such as Flora or Berenice, which come from a school that had already given very high marks to the genre, from the unsurpassed “beauties” of Titian to the more carnal and of Palma il Vecchio. The ideal of beauty is further transformed and in many cases strongly androgynous. The other ingredient that makes Paris Bordon’s inventions seem new is the use of colors, no longer chromatically mixed in a warm and tonal mixture, but chosen outside of the lagoon tradition. Paris favors cold, glassy colors, pearl hues, having fun falsifying silk fabrics with infinite iridescent pleats. Bordon made the Tuscan tradition his own even before the first painters of this school arrived in Venice in the 1940s, and so it is not surprising that he assimilated many of their stylistic peculiarities, including obviously the use of color.
The public confirmation of Paris Bordon also goes through the religious commission. The painter moves within the vast territories of the Serenissima in search of work, from Belluno to Crema, on the border of the Duchy of Milan, and perhaps from there he intercepts new clients to send works to Bari, at the bottom of the boot. This has been the case in Paris since the 1920s, when opportunities for public participation had not yet opened up in the capital. These first movements of the painter are the result of meetings that soon created bonds, such as that with Alvise Foscari, who appointed Podestà in Crema from 1522 to 1524. In 1523 Foscari himself was authorized to “spend up to twenty five scudi to build a chapel of Our Lady in the church of Augustino’. For this building of the Augustinian Feast, Bordon constructed two altars.

For the church of San Francesco in Noale he executed the monument Saint George and the Dragoncommissioned by Alvise Campagnari, now preserved in the Vatican Museums. For the first time you will be able to admire this extraordinary painting after a careful restoration, specially made for the exhibition. Often the patrons of the works of Paris are Venetian figures operating or maintaining ties to the mainland. The roots of the Treviso family put him in a position to work for the territory (Biancade) or for the capital. There is no lack of commissions intercepted through connections with figures working in the Duchy of Milan, such as for the Tanzi altarpiece of the National Pinacoteca of Bari, a regularity over the decades, referring to the key figure of Carlo di Rho. Also there Tanzi Altar intended for Bari comes from entanglements and relationships that matured in the duchy, through Enrico Tanzi, consul general of the Milanese and Lombard residents in the Kingdom of Naples.
In subsequent projects, during the 1940s, Paris introduces many architectural scenariosreaching an absolute peak in his labyrinthine courtyardAnnunciation of Caen, although he had shown that he knew how to master the subject a decade earlier, when he had surpassed all his rivals by realizing Delivery of the ring to the Doge for the Scuola Grande di San Marco in Venice.

To complete the visit to the exhibition, a route of comparisons and references will be proposed, curated by the director of the city’s museums, Fabrizio Malachinto rediscover the masterpieces of the Pinacoteca of the Santa Caterina Museum or scattered throughout the Treviso and Veneto region.

Simone Facchinetti is an associate professor at the University of Salento. He has dealt with issues of Renaissance art history and the history of art criticism. He has edited many exhibitions, including Giovanni Battista Moroni (2014-2015) and The era of Giorgione (2016) at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Giovanni Battista Moroni. The Riches of Renaissance Portraiture (2019) at the Frick Collection in New York.

Arturo Galacino He has been the general director of the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation in Florence since 2015. An art historian and curator, he works for international museums such as the Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. He has curated many exhibitions ranging from Renaissance to contemporary art, among others Giovanni Battista Moroni (2014-2015), Rubens and his legacy (2015) and The era of Giorgione (2016) at the Royal Academy, Giovanni Battista Moroni. The Riches of Renaissance Portraiture (2019) at the Frick Collection in New York, Ai Weiwei. Free (2016), Bill Viola. Electronic Renaissance (2017), Marina Abramovic. The cleaner (2018) and Jeff Koons. Shine (2021-2022) at Palazzo Strozzi.

Carlo Franza

Tag: “Divin Pitor”, City of Treviso, religious commission., The Vatican Museums., The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, The Louvre in Paris, The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, The Uffizi Galleries in Florence, The National Gallery in London, Paris Bordon (Treviso 1500 – Venice 1571), Prof. Carlo Franza, love subjects, sacred subjects

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